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U.S. Marines, Allies defend Baltic Sea during crisis scenario

US Marine Corps News

By Courtesy Story | June 20, 2016

Approximately 200 U.S. Marines conducted combat enhancement and foreign integration training as part of an exercise in the Baltics, June 6-8, 2016.

The three-day training event, also known as CETFIT, was the first opportunity for the Marines to work alongside foreign militaries during BALTOPS 16. Squad and fire team attacks, helicopter insertion and extraction drills, live-fire training and amphibious operations allowed the U.S. forces to get acclimated with the terrain and the other nations.

"What we're really driving for is to improve our tactical interoperability with our NATO allies and our partners here in the Baltic Region," said U.S. Marine Capt. John D. Quail, the commanding officer of the Task Force-BALTOPS company landing team.

Success during any crisis is achieved long before the crisis begins during exercises like BALTOPS and CETFIT when allies and international partners train as one force to achieve one mission.

"Baltic Operations is [an] international crisis management operations exercise, which is very important for international capabilities, said Finnish Navy Cdr. Juha Torkkeli, the CETFIT phase coordinator. "It [allows for] a good possibility to train with other nations in an international environment."

The integration of partner nations reinforces the commitment to security of the Baltic Sea Region and to potential real-world operations.
"We build upon NATO alliances anytime we get a chance to work with our NATO partners in an operational or tactical setting. It also directly correlates to the fact that NATO is strategically looking at this region as very important for the maintenance of stability," said Quail.

"For the first time here in Finland, it's an excellent opportunity to train and enhance our troop's capabilities. We are very pleased that BALTOPS is here with us," said Torkkeli.

BALTOPS is an annual training exercise which brings together 17 NATO allies and partner nations to improve combat and crisis response readiness, build and sustain relationships and enhance stability in the Baltic Sea region.

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